Residents recall sweet memories as ENC movie theater closes

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – The lights will dim at an Eastern Carolina theater for the final time tonight, leaving the community without a place to watch a movie on the big screen.

“I met the love of my life here. We’ve been married 29 years and have three wonderful children, and I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it,” said moviegoer Kelly Roberson.

Making memories like Roberson’s will no longer be possible at the movie theater in Washington.

“The town changed a lot. This is not one of the better ones. We’re going to hate to see it go, we really will,” said Kelly Roberson.

The Golden Ticket Cinemas closes its doors for good on Tuesday after making the announcement in a Facebook post on Sunday. It’ll force people in Washington to head to Greenville to catch a movie on the big screen.

“It’s convenient. It’s here. It’s five minutes away from home, and 30 minutes to drive to the next town. Not everyone can drive, so it’s going to impact the economy and the community itself,” said Kelly’s wife, Stacey Roberson.

Joe Horton, the marketing director of Golden Ticket Cinemas, said this Washington location was the first one they ever opened up in February of 2017. But the memories go far beyond that for some.

“Definitely started going to the movie theater here when I was a child. It was really big when I was a teenager, so for a long time, I’ll say probably 45 years,” said Stacey Roberston.

Horton said while they’re proud they were able to stay open through the pandemic, the writer’s strike also hurt business. But while the theater may no longer welcome movie lovers, the memories will still last- especially for those like Roberson’s. “I miss those days. I really do.”

In the Facebook post, Golden Ticket Cinemas promoted its new Greenville location, which opened just last month. However, Horton did mention to WITN that the Washington location would have been forced to close even if Greenville’s location didn’t open.